What's Your Favorite Out Of The Way Railfanning Spot?

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What's Your Favorite Out Of The Way Railfanning Spot?
Posted by Backshop on Sunday, February 10, 2019 7:09 PM

Everybody knows and goes to the big, popular raifanning spots like Horseshoe Curve, the ex Burlington west of Chicago, the Santa Fe transcon and the like.  What location do you go to that you like and keep going back to?  Mine is Oak Harbor, Ohio.

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, February 10, 2019 8:47 PM

Utica Union Station in NY is usually rewarding.  A lot of traffic (CSX's "Chicago Line") including Amtrak, and several sheltered spots (including the overhead walkway - all glass) from which to watch the action.

It's not really "out of the way," but it's not in the same "class" as the name hotspots.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, February 11, 2019 7:38 AM

Mine has changed over the years.  In my high school days, Burnham Crossing was the place, it was within walking distance of home.  After college, Elmhurst was the prime spot, I spent a lot of Sunday afternoons there.  Currently, I have several locales that I tend to rotate: Blue Island Junction, Elmhurst and Berwyn (LaVergne).

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by JPS1 on Monday, February 11, 2019 9:12 AM

Backshop
 What location do you go to that you like and keep going back to? 

The UP mainline between Alpine and Marfa Texas.  East or west the trains work the grade to top Paisano Pass.  Listening to the throaty roar of the locomotives as they climb the grade adds to the pleasure. 
 
The station in Alpine is a good anchor point.  Amtrak and the UP change crews there.  Most of them are happy to answer rail fan questions while waiting for their assignment.  I have learned a lot from talking with them.
 
The Sunset Limited calls at Alpine on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  On Thursdays one can see No. 1 and No.2.
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Posted by CShaveRR on Monday, February 11, 2019 10:00 AM

Why, I don't consider Elmhurst out of the way at all!  In fact, we do just about everything we can in Elmhurst, from lunches to dental appointments to shopping, banking, and the post office, just to prolong the possibilities.

If you want "out of the way", try Pine Junction, Indiana (or what currently passes for the junction, which is now virtully inaccessible).  You have to...

1.  Go to Gary, which many folks still consider to not be an ideal destination.
2.  Get on the Airport Road, which used to be U.S. Highway 12, but is no longer a highway with any number.
3.  The abandoned building that was once an adult entertainment center is at the corner of Clarke Road.  Go north on that.  It has little to recommend it, and our own Mudchicken thinks that this is where they hide the bodies.  It takes a lot to rattle a big guy like MC!
4.  Cross over a number of abandoned tracks, including the once-hallowed PRR main line and the old Wabash, and the new line that services industries on some of the old Wabash.

5.  The old grade crossings are far from the only holes in the road that one has to watch out for.  Lae last year they finally got around to putting a patch in some of the craters from the previous winter.  When you finally get to the target area, any travel beyond that is at your own risk.  Water collects under the CN underpasses, so you can't see the road surface...but what you do see before that is thick enough mud to discourage you anyway.
6.  There is very little parking on anything that isn't private property, and (at least in the past), special agents were very upset with trespassers.

But once you get there, NS, CSX, and CN (and Amtrak, on NS) provide virtually nonstop action.  It's worth the pilgrimage.

Carl

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Posted by diningcar on Monday, February 11, 2019 1:30 PM

Stratford, TX where the UP (former RI Golden State Route) crosses the BNSF Denver to Amarillo line. Not quite as busy now with diminished BNSF coal trains but still has all of the BNSF Denver to AZ and CA traffic that formerly went over Raton Pass. And of course the UP trains from KC to El Paso and west.

Stratford is about 80 miles north of Amarillo and has a population of 2000+- so there are good motels and restaurants. 

 

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, February 11, 2019 2:12 PM

Interesting thing about Stratford is that every major telecommunications network passes through there as it is a major junction for fiber optic cables.  Not a good place to drive around in a backhoe ;)

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Posted by Ulrich on Monday, February 11, 2019 3:28 PM

Guelph Junction because its close to my house. In the summer I cycle there after work.. about 60 km return to my house. Makes for lovely summer evenings.  Also cross the Guelph Junction Railway twice on my cycling route to Guelph Junction..so Moffatt, ON and Corwhin, ON also popular spots for me. 

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Posted by NKP guy on Monday, February 11, 2019 3:54 PM

   In Ravenna, Ohio one can watch the Pennsylvania RR (NS) pass over the B&O RR (CSX).  Several good photo spots present themselves.

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Posted by Convicted One on Monday, February 11, 2019 4:05 PM

Backshop
What location do you go to that you like

WB junction just west of Carrolton MO is kinda nice. 

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Posted by mudchicken on Monday, February 11, 2019 4:28 PM

Palmer Lake, CO. or Pueblo Junction.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by JPS1 on Monday, February 11, 2019 4:54 PM

Ulrich
In the summer I cycle there after work.. about 60 km return to my house. Makes for lovely summer evenings.  

I failed to mention in my post that a rail fan - cyclist or vice versa can multi-task between Alpine and Marfa.  U.S. 90/67 parallels the UP all the way.  A cyclist can ride and watch trains at the same time. 
 
Alpine to Marfa and back is 52 miles.  Better yet is the Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis, Alpine triangle.  It is about 75 miles.  It is some of the most wonderous country that I have ever seen.  The area is great for cycling.  Good shoulders and light traffic.  The only downer is the wind, which can be stiff, especially in the spring.  
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Posted by CShaveRR on Monday, February 11, 2019 7:30 PM

Would Hill 582 be considered out of the way?  When I went (2007) one needed a knowledgeable person to lead one to it.  I suspect not all cars coule handle the trip. Also, some work has been done to the railroad since then, adding another track.  Any effect on the place?

Carl

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CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

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Posted by blhanel on Monday, February 11, 2019 7:44 PM

CShaveRR

Would Hill 582 be considered out of the way?  When I went (2007) one needed a knowledgeable person to lead one to it.  I suspect not all cars coule handle the trip. Also, some work has been done to the railroad since then, adding another track.  Any effect on the place?

 

My minivan handled it just fine...

Around here, I can rattle off several locations along the UP where I like to hang out (Carl's seen a few of them).

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Posted by Benchedthatpiece on Monday, February 11, 2019 8:27 PM

I like going to the Pokey in WV and the area around Thurmond, WV. Another place I have good luck and go to often is the area from Greensboro, NC to Charlotte, NC and beyond when time permits. Even though it's Norfolk Southern you never know what you'll catch there? I work in Fayetteville, NC so it's a given that I fan the CSX A line whenever possible. Fayetteville also has three places where there is street running and it's very well lit for night photography and/or video.

One of my all time favorite places that has already been mentioned is Pine Junction near Gary, IN! It's 765 miles from me so I have to do that in a long weekend instead of my usual day trips. The last time I fanned there I got 92 trains, all in the daylight hours. I would have gotten over a 100 if the rain and clouds didn't cut short my shooting time. I can't say enough about that place, I doubt there is any place better for just the number of trains? LaGrange, KY is another favorite spot for me.

I'll go anywhere, mostly day trips. The longest so far has been the six plus hour drive to Kenova, WV. I drove up, shot sunrise to sunset then drove back the same day. Speaking of Pine Junction, if you type in 1194 N Clark Rd, Gary, IN 46406 then do a street view, you can see a car which is where I park and a CSX train and I think a clear signal on the Norfolk Southern tracks.

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Posted by NS6770fan on Monday, February 11, 2019 9:20 PM

River Road in Enola PA is a little bit out of the way during normal NS railfanning, but it’s worth it. The road passwe over the North Yard enterance where you can see switchers going about their jobs and heavy motive power dragging trains into the yard.

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Posted by diningcar on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 9:14 AM

Agree with MC about Pueblo Jct. and Palmer Lake but I also remember them from 1955-1959 when they were significantly different than today. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 7:36 PM

When I get to Colorado I often drive to various places along the Rio Grande Moffat Route.  Back in th day, I also visited Minturn and Malta on the Tennessee Pass Route.  There is a moving hot spot of shorts along the light rail line south from Denver along-side the Joint Line as far as Littleton.  It may have been better before Burnham Yard was downgraded.

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Posted by Harrison on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 8:41 PM

tree68

Utica Union Station in NY is usually rewarding.  A lot of traffic (CSX's "Chicago Line") including Amtrak, and several sheltered spots (including the overhead walkway - all glass) from which to watch the action.

It's not really "out of the way," but it's not in the same "class" as the name hotspots.

 

Yes- I agree, love Utica Union! Amsterdam is another of my favorites. Another one is Wells, ME Amtrak station, nice little spot with interesting freight and Amtrak.

Harrison

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Modeling the D&H in 1978.

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Posted by ADRIAN BALLAM on Thursday, February 14, 2019 1:07 AM

I have several locations which I love that are isolated and along mainlines:

1. Boulder Creek: location in which is assessed by ferry and logging road 100 km north of Kamloops, BC up the North Thompson River along CN's Clearwater Sub. There are at least 30 daily trains, plus VIA and Rockymountaineer.

2. Swan Landing: just outside of Hinton, AB along both the Athabasca River and CN's busy Edson Subdivision and close to the junction where the Grande Cache Sub heads north to Grande Praire, AB. Has nice views of the Rockies as well.

3. Bitter Creek: off Interstate 80 between Rawlins and Rock Springs, WY and about 15 miles south of the highway along a rough road. Along UP's Overland Route in which trains climb the grade to the Continental Divide. Extremely underrated. Despite the prominent grade, trains go very fast through here and there are around 50 to 70 daily. Wonderful arid and mountainous setting. Lots of rabbits and creatures in the area to make it more fun.

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Posted by RailEagle on Thursday, February 14, 2019 4:02 PM

Hufsmith Siding/Lloyd Yard, Spring Tex. (UP Navasota Sub).

You may have seen it last December on TV.   ;)

Timetable:

http://jeffstrainsite.com/railfan_info/up/navasota.pdf

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Posted by mudchicken on Thursday, February 14, 2019 11:03 PM

Carl: Clark Junction, Tolleston and the IHB-Gary & Western were spooky enough. Pine Junction can wait another day. (an NS contractor did find a bodyDeadWilted Flower on that project, on a piece of ground still owned by PC/American Premier Underwriters - something that CR and USRA didn't want for any reason. Ick!

As long as DC is nominating Stratford, I'd nominate Frick, CO or Las Animas Junction for the really out of the way prize on that line along with Hilton, CO)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by alphas on Friday, February 15, 2019 12:11 AM

My favorite out-of-the-way is a bluff that over looks the east end of the PRR/NS Spruce Creek Tunnel.    You turn into a back road at Barrie, park at a trail entrance, then hike back on the trail for about half a mile.   I take a lawn chair along sometimes if I'm going to be there for more than an hour or so.   I also get to watch the creek, lots of birds, often see wild turkeys, even occasionally an otter.    Sometimes I take my latest Trains with me to read between trains.    You can hear the west bounds for some time before they come by you but the eastbounds usually only make noise for about a minute before they come out of the tunnel.  There's also plenty of shade to beat the heat in the summer.    The Fall is spectacular when the leaves are changing.

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Posted by Ulrich on Friday, February 15, 2019 3:19 PM

JPS1

 

 
Ulrich
In the summer I cycle there after work.. about 60 km return to my house. Makes for lovely summer evenings.  

 

I failed to mention in my post that a rail fan - cyclist or vice versa can multi-task between Alpine and Marfa.  U.S. 90/67 parallels the UP all the way.  A cyclist can ride and watch trains at the same time. 
 
Alpine to Marfa and back is 52 miles.  Better yet is the Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis, Alpine triangle.  It is about 75 miles.  It is some of the most wonderous country that I have ever seen.  The area is great for cycling.  Good shoulders and light traffic.  The only downer is the wind, which can be stiff, especially in the spring.  
 

Sounds like a great ride.. will have to check that one out...thanks.. 

 

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Posted by Semper Vaporo on Friday, February 15, 2019 3:27 PM

I know many places to watch trains, but I won't divulge the "out of the way" spots... if I did that, my friends and family might find out and then know where to find me when I shut my cell phone off to watch trains in peace!

Semper Vaporo

Pkgs.

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Posted by Loco2124 on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 5:05 PM
Either Williams Loop near Spring Garden,CA. (Not really that far out of the way.) Or behind my house near the Chandler Creek trestle near Quincy. (Out of the way for you guys.LOL)
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Posted by tnbuzzman on Monday, February 25, 2019 9:36 PM

JPS1

JPS1 - what sort of volume of trains through there?  Been wanting to make a trip up from my home in Corpus Christi for a while, and was just wondering!  Thanks!

 

 
Backshop
 What location do you go to that you like and keep going back to? 

 

The UP mainline between Alpine and Marfa Texas.  East or west the trains work the grade to top Paisano Pass.  Listening to the throaty roar of the locomotives as they climb the grade adds to the pleasure. 
 
The station in Alpine is a good anchor point.  Amtrak and the UP change crews at the Alpine Station.  Most of them are happy to answer rail fan questions while waiting for their assigned train.  I have learned a lot from talking with them.
 
The Sunset Limited calls at Alpine on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  On Thursdays one can see No. 1 and No.2.
 

JPS1

 

 
Backshop
 What location do you go to that you like and keep going back to? 

 

The UP mainline between Alpine and Marfa Texas.  East or west the trains work the grade to top Paisano Pass.  Listening to the throaty roar of the locomotives as they climb the grade adds to the pleasure. 
 
The station in Alpine is a good anchor point.  Amtrak and the UP change crews at the Alpine Station.  Most of them are happy to answer rail fan questions while waiting for their assigned train.  I have learned a lot from talking with them.
 
The Sunset Limited calls at Alpine on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  On Thursdays one can see No. 1 and No.2.
 

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Posted by RAY HEROLD on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 8:42 AM

Cove, Pa. A small burg on the Susquehanna River. A nice opening that you can see and photograph both directions, and has an overhead signal gantry as a photo prop. It is on N.S. main line between Harrisburg and Altoona. Usually very good action.

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Posted by BRENDAN BROSNAN on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 9:06 AM

Haven't traveled in a few years due to my health so this may have changed. But my favorite place was Mance, PA on the CSX. A lot less know, "almost a horse shoe curve", and you can view the entire curve from a vanyage point beside the highway. 

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 12:53 PM

There are some well established watching spots that many aren't aware of.  Comments on the YouTube channel for Deshler indicate that.

LarryWhistling
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Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

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